This painting hangs in the MFAH in Houston as part of the John A. and Audrey Jones Beck Collection. One of my
favorite sections of the museum is the Impressionist & Post-Impressionist gallery. This painting, The Yellow Scale
by František Kupka, a self-portrait, has a permanent home there. He has greeted and invited me in on many occasions
over the years.
The gaze of Kupka engulfed in yellow is magnificent. This study of the whole yellow scale is
a perfect example of practicing your craft. He explored the depths of color and color theory his entire career.
Understanding the nuance and subtlety of any single "color" is a lifetime's work in and of itself.
yellow is an enigma. It has always had an air of mystery and unknowableness to me, and one reason I find this painting
so alluring. His use of yellow gives this painting a curious, enigmatic quality filled with a lively yet controlled
energy and confidence. Yet, for all the brightness that fills this canvas, Kupka's self-portrait has a dark and
mischievous quality. The sinister grin, piercing eyes, and relaxed reclining posture add to these qualities and give
a glimpse into the nature of the artist himself.